Monday, April 20, 2015

15 US Cities Where Poverty Growing Fastest

This map is from a Brookings.edu 2014 research brief, titled "The Growth and Spread of Concentrated Poverty, 2000 to 2008-2012".

Every circle on the map represents a community that could adopt the Tutor/Mentor Connection strategy, supported by the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC.

Another use of Interactive Map - Food Insecurity Map

One of the goals of this blog is to showcase innovative uses of maps which could be duplicated in efforts to support the growth of youth tutor, mentor and learning programs in high poverty areas. Visit this link and browse the Feeding America site and Food Insecurity map.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Black Male Achievement Funders Map - Excellent!

If you browse articles on this blog and the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC blog, I've posted maps that show where volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs and other forms of learning support are needed, based on data like poverty, poorly performing schools, violence and health indicators. In a few articles I've indicated a need for maps showing where funding was being distributed, so more organizations and activists could use that information to encourage continued funding where it is now landing, but to increase funding in areas where more, or better, tutor/mentor programs are needed.

Thus I'm really pleased to encourage you to look at the Funders Map posted on the BMAfunders.org web site. BMA seeks to support organizations that offer Black men and boys in the U.S. greater access to the structural supports and opportunities needed to thrive. Thus, this map focuses on funding of those types of organizations.

I encourage you to browse the map and learn to use it. Read this Forbes article to learn more about funding of BMA programs.

If you zoom in you'll see grants distributed in some neighborhoods but not available in others. I'm not sure if this platform yet has the functionality of the Tutor/Mentor Program Locator, which enables map views (see right) to be created that show existing tutor/mentor programs in high poverty area. However it has a level of visual excellence that the Program Locator does not have and it has captured donor information, which the Program Locator does not do.

In the Forbes.com article is this quote: "George Soros, founder of Open Society Foundations, noted in the 2012 report, “this is a generational problem. It demands a long-term commitment.” I'd like to see an army of "story tellers" using this platform to educate donors and policy makers so the commitment and flexible operating funds are continued for a decade or two, and extended to every high poverty neighborhood (and to other minorities and girls).

I think more can be done.

What I feel needs to be created are a set of maps. First, concept maps need to be created that show the supports youth in poverty need as they move from pre school to jobs and careers. This map is an example.



Depending on the level of poverty, segregation and isolation in a neighborhood a child will need more or less of the supports shown on this map, and they need them starting at preschool. The nodes on this map have the ability to link to web libraries which contain links to web sites related to each node. Thus, people interested in learning about technology programs focused on middle school youth should be able to look at web sites of organizations already doing that work, or showing who funds that work.


If the blueprint shows the types of youth serving organizations needed at each age level,the map should show organizations doing that work, and what neighborhoods they serve. Thus, if tutor/mentor programs for middle school kids are important, you should be able to search the map to see if such programs are available in all high poverty neighborhoods, and if the are being funded by multiple donors.

You should also be able to look at program web sites and see blueprints like the one above, with highlighted areas showing what part of the work each organization is doing.

The Tutor/Mentor Program Locator was designed with this level of functionality. Thus you can look at layers of information, showing locations of various types of tutor/mentor programs, by elementary school, middle school and high school service levels.

I've not had funds to update the Program Locator's technology or data since 2009, yet it still represents a useful resource. I was able to create these map stories, using it. However, unless I can find partners and resources to improve the technology experience, and update the data, this will become a great vision, but useless tool.

I've reached out to BMA and similar groups to introduce my work, and to invite partnership. This has not yet led to anything where I could say "my ideas are included in their work" and their "network is supporting my work".

I'll keep trying. I'll also keep pointing to good work being done by others.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Mapping college locations in relation to poverty

This map is one of a series of maps showing poverty in Illinois, and showing locations of colleges. You can see the map in this article, titled "Location, location, location: Are top universities too far away from low-income high school graduates?" The maps for the article were drawn from this report, titled "Optimal Spatial Distribution of Colleges" which includes similar maps for all 50 US states. Illinois is on page 42.

In this 2008 Mapping for Justice article you can see that the Tutor/Mentor Connection has consistently used maps to encourage colleges and hospitals to build strategies that support the growth of mentor-rich non-school programs in the neighborhoods where they are locate. This article on the Tutor/Mentor Institute blog has the same goal.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Intermediaries focused on youth in Chicago

Since October 2014 I've been posting articles showing uses of concept maps. They are a different form of information visualization than the geographic maps posted since 2008.

The map at the left shows intermediary organizations who focus on the well-being of youth in the Chicago region. Some of the nodes are empty, such as ones focused on "business, universities, philanthropy and faith networks". What this means is that someone needs to build a similar concept map, showing what organizations within these categories are doing to support programs helping youth in different parts of the Chicago region.

Most of the nodes on the concept map have links to the organizational web site. I encourage readers to look at each web site to see what they are doing, and to offer your support if possible. As you do, look for visualizations that show a commitment to helping youth move through school and into jobs and careers, such as mine at the right. If a growing percent of all of the intermediaries focusing on youth shared the same broad goal, each could then define their own focus area, such as making STEM programs available in non-school hours, or arts programs available during school day hours.

I'd also look to see if each intermediary has a resource section where they include maps like this, and where they point to others who are working to help youth in the region. At minimum they should point to a list of organizations within their own sphere of influence, like the Chicago tutor/mentor program list that I host.

I created this graphic (see article) to illustrate a need to not only influence what service providers do to help youth, but to illustrate what resource providers need to do to assure that every service provider, and intermediary, has the talent, tools, dollars, etc. to do the work that needs to be done, and to keep doing it, and getting better, for many years.

I feel this should be a shared goal, and responsibility, of every intermediary, and every service provider. If we're going to reach youth in every high poverty neighborhood with programs that help them move from first grade to adult roles, responsibilities and jobs and careers, we need to influence the distribution of resources and the growth of needed programs in all high poverty areas of the city and suburbs.


I've hosted a Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference in Chicago every six months since May 1994. I've invited leaders and staff of these intermediaries to attend, and to use the conference as a meeting place for their own networks, while also using the conference to help build visibility and draw needed resources to themselves, and to all of the organizations they support. If you look at names and organizations shown on conference attendee lists that I've used since 2007, or the conference maps that I've begun to create, you can see that there still is a great deal of work to be done to bring these groups together consistently.

I recognize that it's possible that someone else is having more success bringing these groups together and has been doing so for the past 20 years. If so, I would hope they would have some maps and attendee lists that show who is attending their events. I'd also hope to receive an invitation, and have my web sites serve as a resource for all of them.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Teens using maps --- in 1997 Presidents' Summit Publication

This is the back page of an 8 page newsletter that I picked up while attending the 1997 Presidents' Summit for America's Future event in Philadelphia. I was a Chicago delegate, and my organization, the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC), was one of 50 Teaching Examples with booths at the Summit. I was hoping this event would launch a wave of reinforcements (talent, dollars, ideas, etc.) to support site based tutor/mentor programs in Chicago and other cities, as well as intermediaries like the T/MC who were collecting and sharing information, and organizing events, intended to draw these resources directly to tutor/mentor programs.

I tried to find this organization on the web site, but it no longer exists, at least under this web address. The organization supporting this effort is TeenInk.com, which you can find here.

As you can see from this graphic I've been collecting information about Chicago tutor/mentor programs since before 1995, and have been using maps to show where existing programs are located as well as where more are needed, for just as long.

I've yet to see the President, Mayor, national leadership groups like America's Promise, etc. use maps consistently and for the purpose of drawing resources to places already operating, so each could constantly improve. Below is one of several illustrated essays I've created to show how leaders can, and should, be using maps. I sat next to General Colin Powel in a small Chicago meeting in 1997 or 1998 and tried to put some ideas about mapping in his hands at that time. Unfortunately, another leader (and former General) snatched the info from him. I doubt that he ever saw it.

No General Goes to War Without a Map by Daniel F. Bassill

If you're a leader, I encourage you to use maps in this way. If you lead a youth serving organization, or youth publication, encourage your teens and volunteers to create stories using maps, and calling on resource providers to fill high poverty areas with needed volunteer-based tutoring, mentoring and learning programs, as well as the talent, dollars and technology each program needs to operate, and constantly improve.

I'm looking for partners, sponsors, volunteers and a wide range of help to update my own mapping platform since I'm no longer operating as a 501-c-3 and have yet to figure out a business plan to generate revenue to support this work.

Here's the front cover of the publication that I point to above.

Five Presidents were featured and pledged to help the most at risk kids in America get mentors and find safe places to learn, play and connect during non school hours. Too bad none of them, or Presidents elected since then, have done this consistently, nor used maps in their own efforts to mobilize resources to support youth serving organizations.